Fayaz Nawabi
Fayaz Nawabi is running for San Diego City Council District 6. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Donald Trump’s emergence in the last presidential election has been the impetus for more than a few candidates in America. Some people just wouldn’t be running for office if it weren’t for him.

That includes Fayaz Nawabi. He tells VOSD podcast hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts about how flustered he’d felt in the aftermath of President Trump’s victory and how he quit his job to run for San Diego City Council.

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Of course, Trump isn’t the only motivation. This is a local election, after all.

Nawabi spoke, among many other things, of his family’s reliance on Section 8 housing vouchers. It provided him with some stability growing up.

“We just could not afford living in San Diego,” he said, “and this is a reality many families in San Diego are dealing with right now.”

Also in the podcast, our hosts consider the 49th Congressional District race and the elbowing that is playing out mostly behind the scenes. Fearing that they’re going to miss a chance to flip a longtime GOP district and embarrass the party nationally, Democrats are trying to convince one another to leave now with some grace. That issue came to a head this month, as Keatts and I covered Thursday in a story about how one candidate nearly left the race to run for the County Board of Supervisors.

The County Backs Off

Good news for journalism — and VOSD contributor Kelly Davis.

After an outpouring of criticism by local media, attorneys for San Diego County have decided to drop their effort to put Davis on the stand. A judge recently said no, but the county could have challenged that ruling.

In 2013, Kelly and another journalist began publishing stories in CityBeat about the high number of suicides in San Diego County jails. The widow of one of those inmates is suing the county.

Although Davis won’t be compelled to give up sources in a courtroom, her research will still play a role in the case.

County attorneys, writes VOSD contributor Randy Dotinga, are “challenging the reporter’s conclusion that the suicide rate here was the second-worst in the state among similar jail systems. No, a statistician enlisted by the county says, we actually had the third-worst suicide rate.”

Davis stands by her work.

Poverty in California

California is home to some of the wealthiest people — and companies — in the world. But it’s also called the poverty capitol of America for a good reason. The federal government has determined that, when one considers food, housing and other costs of living, about one in five people who live in the most populous state is considered poor.

At a Democratic gubernatorial debate Thursday, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said, “Poverty is the issue of our time, particularly in California,” and there was no dissent. On both the left and the right, there’s a growing sense that the level of income inequality in America is extreme.

But what to do about it?

Much of the rest of the debate highlighted the divide, as VOSD contributor Marisa Agha writes, between the more progressive and moderate wings of the party.

Newsom has suggested that single-payer healthcare would help alleviate poverty. While the other leading contenders don’t necessarily disagree, they’ve questioned the costs of a government-run system. State Treasurer John Chiang said, “I want to have single-payer with the money that’s available. We can’t overpromise.”

Last year, the California Senate passed a single-payer bill, but it was shelved by Assembly Leader Anthony Rendon for the reason that Chiang and others discussed: There didn’t appear to be an immediate funding source.

Also in this week’s Sacramento Report, Assemblyman Randy Voepel, a Republican from Santee, introduces a series of work-related bills, one of which would allow parents at state agencies to bring infants to work. And San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is pushing for legislation that would allocate $1.5 billion to help cities address the state’s rising homelessness.

The Democratic Case for Charter Schools

Thursday night’s debate at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in southeastern San Diego kicked off a three-day convention for the California Democratic Party. On Saturday morning, delegates who pass through the Convention Center Plaza will likely hear from a group of pro-charter school activists, students and parents.

In a new op-ed, one of those rally-goers argues that charter schools should be part of the party’s platform, which acts as a guidepost for lawmakers. High Tech High Media Arts senior Katie Anderson, who turns 18 in a few weeks, said she agrees with Democrats on most points, except this one, and is frustrated by some leaders.

“It’s unfair that children and grandchildren of Democratic school board members and California legislators get access to charter schools while these same elected officials are creating roadblocks that limit more students from having that educational choice,” she writes. “This is elitism and hypocrisy at its worst and really should have no place in the Democratic Party.”

Meanwhile, in North County

Escondido is doubling down on prohibition.

Mayor Sam Abed said he’s proud to have one of the toughest anti-pot ordinances in the state — one that jails any adult who’s caught letting underage party guests smoke. In an interview with NBC 7, he portrayed his opposition in decidedly religious hues, saying his “is a faith-based community.”

He also doesn’t care much for the potential tax revenue increase, suggesting that California will find a way to snatch it.

To which a resident responded: “It’s unfair, you know? We live in a city, we live in America. Everyone likes to smoke weed.”

About 52 percent of Escondido voted in favor of Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational purposes and allowed adults to grow six plants for their personal consumption. The city can’t take that away.

That said, industry groups and activists have not targeted Escondido with the same fervor that they’ve dispatched into Chula Vista and elsewhere.

In Other News

To fill a shortage of recruits, San Diego could offer cops a homebuying incentive worth as much as $50,000. (Union-Tribune)

Federal monitors warned a San Diego nonprofit that resettles refugees about potential violations. (KPBS)

A toxic groundwater plume is still a problem for El Cajon mobile home parks. (inewsource)

San Diego has no shortage of short-term bike rental companies, as Mobike is expected to launch Friday night. (Times of San Diego)

State lawmakers are meeting with utility interests, labor groups and other stakeholders to build support for plans to fundamentally change electricity in the west. (Union-Tribune)

San Diego State Aztecs basketball player Malik Pope was named in a federal college basketball investigation. (ABC 10)

The Chargers almost doubled Twitter followers since moving to Los Angeles, but one analysis suggests nearly half those accounts are fake. (The Big Lead)

Top Stories of the Week

1. How Police Stumbled Onto a Human Smuggling Ring — At a House They’d Been Called to 53 Times

Neighbors called the cops 53 times on a home in Chula Vista. But it took pure dumb luck for Border Patrol and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to discover a human smuggling ring inside. (Adriana Heldiz)

2. Politics Report: San Diego’s Blue Wave May Not Be Big

In this week’s roundup: A political data maven puts potential anti-Trump passion in context for local races, an update from signature gatherers, a potential riff in unions on the supervisor race and a new Yimby club. (Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis)

3. Yeah, Stone Brewing Probably Has a Good Case Against MillerCoors and Keystone

In order to prevail on this claim, Stone doesn’t have to prove actual confusion — meaning, they don’t have to produce consumers who bought Keystone Lite on the mistaken belief that it was a Stone Brewing product. Stone simply has to demonstrate likelihood of confusion. (David Lizerbram)

4. In Crowded CA-49, Applegate Positioned Himself to Run for County Supervisor

As Democrats jockeyed for position in the crowded 49th Congressional District, pressuring each other to step aside to cull the field, Doug Applegate changed his primary residency — which would have made him eligible to run for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. (Jesse Marx and Andrew Keatts)

5. Papa Doug’s #MeToo Moment: 5 Takeaways from the U-T’s Misconduct Imbroglio

Hotel magnate Doug Manchester’s ambassador bid is in jeopardy over accusations he presided over a ‘toxic,’ sexist workplace as the Union-Tribune’s owner. (Randy Dotinga)

For the rest of the list, check the website.

Jesse Marx is a former Voice of San Diego associate editor.

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